James LaBrie interview (12/2010)

With: James LaBrie
Conducted by: Demonic Tutor (e-mail)
Published: 04.12.2010

Band profile:

James LaBrie

I recently jumped on an emailer opportunity with one of my idols, Mister James LaBrie himself. Front-man and vocalist for Dream Theater but more recently embarking on a solo tour that is shaping up to be one of the best moves of his career.

Thanks for doing this. As a fellow Canadian and long-time fan of yours I am truly honored!

Thanks, my pleasure taking the time to do this.

Static Impulse is so different from Elements of Persuasion. Both albums are brilliant. Was there a catalyst for this change or was it just natural progression?

It was a natural process in the sense that Matt Guillory and I knew this was the kind of album we wanted to create. We were slowly bringing the direction of our material towards a heavier more aggressive feel. Even on EOP. we started to introduce some of the metal aspects of our writing... with a song such as CRUCIFY.

The new album, Static Impulse

How do you interact with Matt in terms of songwriting? Who writes the lyrics?

We both send several audio files back and forth to one another, slowly taking each other's ideas and eventually shaping them into completed songs. We have the kind of chemistry that both of us have such a keen sense of where the other is headed or what the other is expressing that we can elaborate and bring the seeds in a direction we both are comfortable with. With this album both Matt and I wrote the lyrics. We each wrote 6 lyrics.

The songs on the new album seem to contain a lot more anger than ever before. Is it really a good reflection of your current state of mind or just the way it turned out to be?

I wouldn't say it's anger as opposed to a more observational point of view. A clearer sensibility as to how things effect each and everyone of us. Most of us act and re-act very similarly and I would imagine these lyrics reflect strongly with most people.

The previous album, Elements of Persuasion

Tell us what track or tracks actually satisfied you the most on Static Impulse, just from a singing point of view.

Well if I may be so bold, I would say they all convey a very cool, strong and evolving voice. I always try and bring something different to each and every recording I'm involved with, especially the albums Matt and I write. This album shows the aggressive as well as the expressive tones and inflections.

A lot of people are asking what is the significance of Static Impulse cover art.

The imagery metaphorically ties in with the lyrics. The lyrics are about understanding as well as misunderstanding, acceptance and growth. The imagery displays groups of people all within their comfort zones in how they dress and whom they surround themselves with. This is what continues to divide or perpetuates ignorance throughout the global community.

Your guitar player, Marco Sfogli, is a real prodigy in my opinion. How did you end up meeting him and talking about a possible collaboration for your solo career?

He was suggested to Matt Guillory through a fellow keyboardist from Italy. Matt then let me hear Marco's playing and I instantly knew that he was everything we were looking for. He would help bring our music to another level with the best and purest interpretation that any other guitar player would be hard pressed to do the same. He is truly one of kind, a great and natural talent.

Marco Sfogli

Similarly, the addition of Peter Wildoer to the lineup has brought another dimension to the music. How did you guys contact him? Were you familiar with his previous work?

Peter's inception came to us through Jens Bogren who mixed and mastered Static Impulse. We were looking for a drummer that had a great metal music sense, one that has been involved in this kind of music for quite some time. Peter was the perfect fit. A phenomenal drummer, a powerhouse. He nailed these songs with killer virtuosity and interpretive brilliance. Not to mention but he has a killer Death Metal voice as well.

Peter Wildoer

From the extremely positive feedback for both Elements of Persuasion and Static Impulse, do you see yourself investing more time in your solo career in the future?

Well, the solo thing which for all intensive purposes could easily be labeled the LaBrie / Guillory Band is a beautiful thing I plan on doing for many years. Matt is just as much responsible for this as I am. We are 50/50 when it comes to everything about the solo albums. So first and foremost Matt will always have to be involved when we decide to the next one and every other one to follow. There is no doubt about the fact that the solo albums give me a platform to let the fans hear who James LaBrie is outside of Dream Theater. They hear me as a writer, producer and obviously a singer. It allows me the opportunity to get my ideas out and to grow as a musician. With all of this being said, Dream Theater will always be the priority, it is for everyone in DT. Our solo endeavors are done with the knowledge that DT. comes first.

You made a career singing for progressive metal bands. Yet when naming your musical tastes bands such as Metallica, Journey, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Judas Priest come up. Surely, you must be a progressive rock fan as well? How about Yes, Deep Purple or Rush?

Of course those bands are an influences. I used to listen to Rush and Yes every morning while getting ready for school. Every time I listen to Hemispheres by Rush I am brought back to some great memories. Cygnus X-1 or La Villa Strangiato, those are incredible defining songs for such an incredible band. Deep Purple's... Machine Head. Classic, brilliant album with Ian Gillan at the top of his form.

If you had the opportunity to sing a duet with another contemporary singer, who would you pick?

I'm not really in to the duet thing, but if I had to choose, I would have loved to sing something with Freddie Mercury. Also, Steve Perry, Anne Wilson or Chris Cornell.

For the record, you know I have to ask you this being from Ontario and all… Leafs fan or other?

Not sure I'll see the Leaf's win the Stanley Cup before my time is up...;-)))) I still go to the games and cheer for them but right now my team are the Penguins.

Thank you so much for your time. You have the last word.

Thanks for all the support and look forward to the next show in beautiful Montreal. I love that city and the fans.



Additional thanks to Leila at Rebel Music for the opportunity and her patience.


Posted on 04.12.2010 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 217 users
05.12.2010 - 05:33
Great Interveiw with a great musician!
"The bands called Demon Hunter! They hunt demons!"
07.12.2010 - 08:49
Underpaid M.D.
This was kinda short, but entertaining after all, it's good to see that you focused on his solo career and didn't ask about the state of Dream Theater right now.
"Les vers savent qu'ils n'ont pas d'ailes, c'est pour cela qu'ils se cachent sous terre"
09.12.2010 - 15:05
I am a big fan of Matt Guillory from his work in Dali's Dilemma, who only put out one album in 98, but it is the most amazing piece of progressive metal. But in the records with James Labrie I don't find the same elements of his playing in Dali's. In any case I still like the albums with James Labrie.
10.12.2010 - 01:39
Demonic Tutor
The Enemy Within
Written by Daggon on 07.12.2010 at 08:49

This was kinda short, but entertaining after all, it's good to see that you focused on his solo career and didn't ask about the state of Dream Theater right now.

It was shortened because most of my questions were on the upcoming North America tour, that got canceled between me sending the questions and him answering. Too bad.
10.12.2010 - 13:40
This was a good read.
24.12.2010 - 00:08
Interesting one indeed. I always liked LaBrie a lot. Now I like him even more after discovering the work he's done in his solo career.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29

Like you could kiss my ass.

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